Rehabilitation servicesSkip section navigation
Courage Kenny Research Center
Courage Kenny Research Center
Innovative research has been part of the mission at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute for many years. With the opening of the Research Center at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in 2007, all the Institute's research activities are now located under one 'umbrella.'
By coordinating all investigative studies within the new Research Center, the Institute is more strategic and focused when conducting research and development projects.
A Twin Cities startup that has developed a high-tech shoe insert called the Walkasin has landed a $1 million federal grant that it will use to conduct clinical trials. Lars Oddsson, director of the Research Center, developed the technology behind the Walkasin, which can detect whether a person is about to lose his or her balance and fall.
The fear of sports injury is the ever-present, though less-focused-on, reality that plagues tournaments like March Madness. But now, new treatments and new rehab tools are being developed to manage injuries like patellar tendonitis or perform anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.
Start-ups sprout from the Research Center
Imagine a robot that can check on recovering stroke patients, remind them to do exercises — even update therapists about their progress. Meet the Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute's Home Therapy System (known as SKOTEE) is one of the latest inventions being developed at the Research Center. Learn more about it on startribune.com.
Briefing is an occasional newsletter highlighting the accomplishments and activites of the Research Center.
The Research Center is essentially a creativity incubator that conducts patient-focused research and develops new rehabilitation technologies. It is located immediately next to the inpatient rehab care unit at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
This close proximity creates a unique opportunity for patient and clinician involvement. Every day faculty researchers, practicing clinicians, students and patients have a chance to interact.
This environment also stimulates investigator-initiated research and provides the foundation for the team-based innovation model being implemented at the Research Center.
The Center has produced its own Innovation Handbook that describes the innovation process in a structured and systematic manner.
Clinicians and others involved in a Clinical Innovation Team use the handbook to define a clinical need, conduct research and move toward a focused and cost effective commercialization process. This unique team approach is helping to improve innovation and establish a culture of research at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute and Allina Health.
Technology development and commercialization
One feature that distinguishes the Courage Kenny Research Center is its focus on translational research – a strategy that emphasizes bringing new rehab technology to market.
During the innovation process, the Center identifies a need, develops a solution and determines whether it meets patients' needs. The next step is to 'translate' the research into a product that is useful and patentable.
This entrepreneurial focus cultivates partnerships with business and industry and helps to ensure that patients have access to the latest breakthroughs in rehabilitative care.
Rehabilitation devices in testing
Click on the photos below for more information about each device:
The 3-WAM is a wireless activity monitor for patients to wear in their homes. The device, which is connected to the web, detects and measures activity levels so doctors and therapists can see if patients are following exercise programs and meeting goals.
The Research Center serves as a learning laboratory where therapists and physicians carry out research in:
The ultimate goal of these research projects is to deliver the best care possible to patients at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute.
The following studies are currently underway to:
- develop test procedures to inform return-to-duty for soldiers with concussion/mild traumatic brain injury
- understand the extent to which former stroke inpatients are able to follow home instructions from their rehabilitation team
- characterize daily life needs, goals and priorities of persons with brain cancer who receive outpatient rehabilitation and their family members
- evaluate physical therapy interventions for "pusher syndrome" after stroke
- examine outcomes of two approaches to occupational therapy/vision rehabilitation on convergence insufficiency and diplopia in persons with stroke or brain injury
- develop a clinically feasible clinical assessment of high level executive dysfunction and evaluate its discriminate validity
- examine the use of a home telemedicine platform to help patients adhere to treatment
- assess the use of step execution as an indicator of fall risk
- develop new technology that can improve therapy outcomes and decrease health care costs.
Partnerships and collaborations
Product Innovation Engineering program (PIEp)
Establishing collaborative relationships is critical to Courage Kenny Research Center's success.
The Center is an official international partner for the Product Innovation Engineering Program (PIEp), a Swedish national program that partners with research institutes and universities around the world to promote innovative product and business development.
PIEp partners graduate students with research institutes to promote innovative product and business development.
In addition to six Swedish sites, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute is one of five international partners:
- Courage Kenny Research Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Stanford University Center for Design Research, Stanford, California
- Engineering Design Center, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
- Institute of Product Development, Technical University of Münich, Münich, Germany
- Design Center at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland
National and international collaborations
Collaborative relationships are part of the culture at Courage Kenny Research Center and are critical to the center's success. Since its inception, the center has or has had collaboration initiatives with:
The Research Center's international partners include:
- Ben-Gurion University, Israel
- Delft University, the Netherlands
- Department of Sports Kinanthropology at the Faculty of Physical Education and Sport at Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
- Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
- Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden
- School of Health Sciences, Sapporo Medical University, Sapporo, Japan
These collaborations and recognition of the Research Center as an up-and-coming research institution have resulted in invitations to present and chair sessions at several national and international conferences.